Closing Time 5/31: Ranking The Top 30 Closers Every Wednesday

No major changes to this week’s rankings, outside of the return of Edwin Diaz. I have him outside of the top 10 for now, but if he can string together a...

No major changes to this week’s rankings, outside of the return of Edwin DiazI have him outside of the top 10 for now, but if he can string together a few dominant performances, he should move up quickly. David Robertson was arguably the best closer of the week, and I’ll admit he feels too low at 20 here. The White Sox have gone on a little streak here lately, but there’s almost no way it lasts. As long as he remains in Chicago, he’ll struggle to find saves.

TIER 1: Nothing Compares 2 U

1. Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers)—Pedro Baez, Josh Fields

2. Craig Kimbrel (Boston Red Sox)—Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree

3. Greg Holland (Colorado Rockies)—Jake McGee, Mike Dunn

4. Wade Davis (Chicago Cubs)—Hector Rondon, Carl Edwards Jr.

  • Greg Holland actually allowed a run this past week, but it was in a non-save situation. Wade Davis also allowed his first 2 earned runs of the season on a 2 run HR to Mac Williamson, but was still able to hold on for the save. These 4 have established themselves clearly as being above the rest of the pack, although I’m still a bit skeptical about Davis being able to sustain such low ERA and WHIP numbers.

TIER 2: Save Tonight

5. Ken Giles (Houston Astros)—Chris DevenskiWill HarrisChris Devenski

6. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)—Tyler Clippard, Adam Warren

7. Matt Bush (Texas Rangers)—Keone Kela, Jeremy Jeffress

8. Roberto Osuna (Toronto Blue Jays)—Joe Smith, Ryan Tepera

9. Mark Melancon (San Francisco Giants)—Derek Law, Hunter Strickland

10. Alex Colome (Tampa Bay Rays)—Danny FarquharTommy Hunter

11. Raisel Iglesias (Cincinnati Reds)—Drew Storen, Michael Lorenzen

12. Edwin Diaz (Seattle Mariners)—Nick Vincent, Tony Zych

13. Cody Allen (Cleveland Indians)—Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw

14. Justin Wilson (Detroit Tigers)—Alex Wilson, Shane Green


  • As expected, Edwin Diaz is back in the closer role for the Mariners, perhaps for no other reason than the fact they have no viable alternatives. In 3 games since regaining the job, he has 2 saves, 4 K’s and has only allowed 1 baserunner. I’m taking a bit of a cautious, wait and see approach with his ranking for now, but he certainly could end up being a top 5 closing option the rest of the way.
  • Cody Allen had a tough week, allowing 7 hits, a walk and 3 earned runs while blowing a save. The K’s are still coming in bunches, and his ERA still looks nice at 2.61, but his 1.45 WHIP is just too high. Part of the reason for this could be back luck, as he has only allowed 8 walks but has a ridiculously high .417 BABIP. However, his 26.5% GB rate is lowest among all active closers, which is a concern.

TIER 3: Bound for the Floor

15. Corey Knebel (Milwaukee Brewers)—Jacob BarnesCarlos Torres

16. Addison Reed (New York Mets)—Fernando Salas, Paul Sewald

17. Kelvin Herrera (Kansas City Royals)—Joakim SoriaMatt Strahm

18. Seung Hwan Oh (St. Louis Cardinals)—Trevor Rosenthal, Brett Cecil

19. Koda Glover (Washington Nationals)— Matt Albers, Shawn Kelley 

20. David Robertson (Chicago White Sox)—Tommy Kahnle, Anthony Swarzak

21. Brad Brach (Baltimore Orioles)—Darren O’Day, Mychal Givens

22. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)—Joaquin Benoit, Pat Neshek

23. Jim Johnson (Atlanta Braves)—Arodys Vizcaino, Jose Ramirez  

24. Brandon Kintzler (Minnesota Twins)—Taylor Rogers, Matt Belisle 

25. A.J. Ramos (Miami Marlins)—Kyle Barraclough, Brad Ziegler


  • Koda Glover, now officially the one and only Nationals closer, has been lights out since earning his first save after his DL stint. He has 4 saves over that span, and in 4.2 innings he has only allowed one hit while striking out 6. The K’s are nice to see, as he was struggling to miss bats up until he landed on the DL. As long as he remains the closer in Washington, he will have plenty of value in most leagues.
  • The Phillies are really bad, so much so that the team and Hector Neris may end up with just 1 total save for the whole month of May. The team as a whole has just 6 in 2 months, roughly 1/3 of Greg Hollands total. As incredible as that is, Neris himself has been really good in non-save chances lately.  Since his last save, a little more than 2 weeks ago, he has pitched 5.2 innings, allowing 2 hits, 2 walks, 0 runs and has struck out 7. Saves should start to trickle in as the Phillies have to win some close games sooner rather than later (right?), giving him some sneaky value going forward

TIER 4: Better Days (and the Bottom Drops Out)


26. Bud Norris (Los Angeles Angels)—Blake Parker, David Hernandez 

27. Tony Watson (Pittsburgh Pirates)—Felipe Rivero, Daniel Hudson

28. Fernando Rodney (Arizona Diamondbacks)—JJ Hoover, Archie Bradley

29. Santiago Casilla (Oakland Athletics)—Ryan MadsonLiam Hendriks

30. Brandon Maurer/Brad Hand (San Diego Padres)—Ryan Buchter  

  • Bud Norris and Tony Watson both seem to be on their way out as their respective team’s closers, for different reasons however. Norris, despite pitching well, is likely to lose the job to either Huston Street or Cam Bedrossian in the next week or so, while Watson has struggled to the point where the Pirates really need to consider giving Felipe Rivero a shot. I have a haunting suspicion that Street will get a chance for the Angels when healthy, which is less than ideal for everyone but opposing lineups. Rivero would however be a nice upgrade for the Pirates, as he would be a top 15 closer for me rest of season probably.
  • I’m still not sure what to make of the Padres situation, but if there is ever any doubt about who is first in line for saves for a bottom feeder club like themselves, it’s usually best to just leave it alone. Brad Hand at least can help in other categories even if he isn’t picking up saves, but I wouldn’t overpay or drop anyone of significance for either him or certainly Brandon Maurer, if available in your league.

Rick Graham

Rick resides in the Boston area and has experience as a player and coach at the collegiate level. He has been covering relievers for Pitcher List since 2017.

6 responses to “Closing Time 5/31: Ranking The Top 30 Closers Every Wednesday”

  1. I’ve got Hector Neris but pondering dropping him for AJ Ramos. I had AJ last year and he was solid. Not so much this year obviously. I think overtime Miami will have more save ops. than Philadelphia. Right now they are pretty much even. My concern is the lack of wins for Phi. and Neris would just be a wasted roster spot despite how good he is.

    I’m also thinking about dropping Neris and punting saves a little bit and picking up any 2 of the following Arodys Vizcaíno, Will Harris, Darren O’Day, Trevor Rosenthal, or Archie Bradley?

    … thoughts?

    My current staff:
    – Greg Holland
    – Addison Reed
    – Héctor Neris
    – Edwin Díaz
    – Adam Ottavino (DL)

    • Rick Graham says:

      I still think I’d hold on to Neris a little while longer. I still prefer him long term to Ramos or over any dart throw set-up option who could turn closer (Rivero, Rosenthal, Vizcaino)

  2. bobbo says:

    With Knebel performing, no chance Feliz gets the job back in MIL right? What are the chances he gets moved to another team? Have been holding onto him in a holds league thinking he might be dealt, but he’s getting me nothing right now. Time to cut bait?

  3. wuvius says:

    With Bedrosian and Street almost back , what do you think will happen with the Angels bullpen?

    • Rick Graham says:

      There hasn’t been much from the Angels organization as to what will happen, but my hunch is that Street gets his job back, with Bedrosian and Parker in setup roles and Norris moved into a Devenski-esque role or traded.

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